Visiting salons over the years, I’ve always been surprised by a very common occurrence across North America. I think we can all agree that salons, for multiple reasons, are generally not the best retailers. But what is so shocking to me is that the products that do sell very well are nowhere to be found on the retail shelves!
There are many reasons for this, but the most common is a lack of understanding of the psychology behind retailing: how consumers process information and subconsciously make purchase decisions. This sounds more complex than it truly is!
You make choices every day: where you shop, what you think you need, what you perceive as valuable, what you feel is not a good purchase—and finally—what you buy. For many of us, this is done in a matter of minutes, perhaps even seconds. There is a tipping point where we have a conversation with ourselves (you know, the little voice in our heads.) “Should I or shouldn’t I?”
Here is a real-world example:
As a stylist, your schedule is irregular and you often don’t have time to eat. I’m sure that you’ve considered eating that week old lunch sitting in the back of the staff fridge. You run out in search of a quick bite, desperate to satiate that ever-growing pain in your stomach. You spot a small pizzeria that sells by the slice. You’ve not only found food, but it’s the Holy Grail—pizza! You get to the counter to find only one slice left behind the glass. A feeling of disappointment comes over you. THE LAST SLICE? Nooo! The dreaded leftover.
The man behind the counter assures you that it’s fresh, but you do not want a leftover. You simply cannot satisfy your extreme hunger with this sad slice of pepperoni pizza!
Now, apply this example to your salon. When you have only 1 or 2 of a specific SKU left on your shelves, guests perceive them as leftover, possibly expired products. No one wants a leftover!
When you let your inventory dwindle or sell out, you are not enticing your guests—you are losing potential sales. Next time you hesitate to reorder, remember the slice of pizza that nobody wants.
We all want options, variety—and most importantly—fresh, well stocked inventory.